THE LIVELY SHADOW: Living with the Death of a Child

Donald M. Murray, Author . Ballantine $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-345-44984-9

In this deeply felt, nicely written reminiscence, Murray, a Pulitzer Prize– winning journalist, explains how he never truly recovered from the death of Lee, the second of his three daughters. Although he touched on this loss in My Twice-Lived Life: A Memoir, he now fully explores how Lee's unexpected death from Reye's Syndrome, at the age of 20, changed his life forever. Murray and his wife, Minnie Mae, were away in Vermont when they got the call that Lee was being taken to the hospital with a high fever. After four desperate days it became apparent that she would be one of the 20% who could not recover from this condition. He and Minnie Mae gave permission to have Lee's life support disconnected. In heart-wrenching prose, Murray describes days of mourning marked by his need to tell the story of Lee's death over and over. He recounts the details of her short time on earth, and—through his words and the papers Lee left behind—a young talented musician on the brink of fulfilling her dreams springs to life. Although the author is initially shocked when a neighbor who has lost a son tells him "It won't get any better," he comes not only to agree with this prediction, but to be grateful for it. Murray writes that he now understands that he can accept Lee's death, not by forgetting, but only by continuing to live each day, loving his family and celebrating the commonplace occurrences of daily life in her memory. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/11/2002
Release date: 02/01/2003
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